IT STOPS HEREStanding together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
ContentsIt Stops Here 4Understanding domestic and family violence 7At a glance: the NSW domestic and family violence reforms 9Domestic and family violence is prevented 12An integrated approach to prevention 13Domestic and family violence is identified early 15New minimum practice standards 15Better availability of services where they are needed 18Making it easier for victims to find help – Central Referral Points 19Victims are safe and supported to recover 20A new approach to identifying and assessing risk 20Planning for long-term safety and support for recovery 21Safety Action Meetings for people “at serious threat” 22Better information sharing for improved safety 23Perpetrators stop using violence 24Changing perpetrators’ behaviour – the NSW Men’s Referral Service 25Working with perpetrators - minimum practice standards 25A supported, professional and effective sector 27Building common ground – shared definitions and objectives 27Gathering the evidence 29Supporting workforce development 30Governance and implementation 31How will we know if we’ve been successful? 34Have your say 36Appendices 39Appendix 1 - Common Risk Identification Tool (RIT) 39Appendix 2 - Links with other reforms 45Appendix 3 - Alignment with national and state plans 48
4 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWIt Stops HereEvery year, too many people in our communities experience violence at thehands of someone they know and trust: a husband, partner, family memberor relative. In our cities and in rural areas, domestic and family violence isruining lives.And it’s not just physical assaults: behaviour that controls, intimidates, terrifiesor coerces a person is also domestic and family violence. It includes verbal,psychological, mental and emotional abuse; stalking; harassment; financialabuse and manipulation; denial of freedom and choice; and control of accessto family and friends.Anyone can become a victim of domestic and family violence, but women andchildren are more likely to experience domestic and family violence perpetratedby men. And it can have devastating effects on their physical, mental andemotional wellbeing.Statistics show that, for women aged under 45, domestic and family violence isthe single greatest cause of death, ill health and disability (1). In fact, approximately50 per cent of homicides are classified as domestic homicides, involving victimswho share a family or domestic relationship with the offender (Australian Instituteof Criminology).We do not need statistics to argue the case that domestic and family violencecan end in death. Recently a number of high profile cases spotlighted by themedia have shown how domestic and family violence can escalate into lethalsituations.Children who witness violence in the home experience emotional traumaand they are also more likely to experience or use violence in their ownfuture relationships.Preventing domestic and family violence means challenging and changingdisrespectful values, attitudes and beliefs that allow these behaviours tooccur and continue. It also means working with victims to build healthierand safer lives.Safeguarding people from the serious threat presented by domestic and familyviolence is not the responsibility of any one person or agency. Throughout NSW,government and non-government agencies, specialist and mainstream services,and legal and statutory services all play a role in making our communities safe.In many places across NSW, there are examples of highly effective programs
5 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWthat are working to prevent and reduce violence in our communities. Butwe also know there are systemic problems preventing government andnon-government agencies from working as closely and effectively aspossible to respond to people who face a serious threat to their safety.Too often, victims of domestic and family violence face major obstacles ingetting the support and protection they need to be safe. Not all victims ofviolence are able to speak up and identify themselves as victims of domesticand family violence. Those who do wish to speak up may find it difficult tonegotiate the pathways they are required to follow to get the help they need.We also need a system that holds perpetrators to account and providesthem with opportunities to change their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours.Our approaches to working with perpetrators must be based on a solidunderstanding of the evidence about preventative behavioural change.In a six-month process, we consulted with hundreds of individuals, groupsand agencies across the state with expertise in preventing and responding todomestic and family violence. We have talked about the lessons we can learnfrom their experiences and we have examined strategies that have worked inother Australian states and internationally.We have designed a series of reforms that will:●● enable us to better identify and support people who face a “serious threat”to their safety;●● enable workers across various government and non-government agenciesto work in a more cohesive manner to respond and protect those peopleidentified as facing a serious threat to their safety;●● enable people to move more effectively between individual agencies (bothgovernment and non-government) without having to retell their story, thanksto better information sharing.These changes move the NSW Government and DFV service sector onto adifferent path. They will make considerable progress in the way we respond todomestic and family violence. There is no doubt more to do, particularly in areassuch as prevention, because domestic and family violence is a complex issue thatcannot be fixed overnight. So we will review these changes and enhance themin the coming years. Nevertheless, through these reforms we are confident weare sending NSW in the right direction, to a future where domestic and familyviolence will not be tolerated in any of our communities A future where we canstand together to support the victims facing domestic and family violence toensure “it stops here”.
6 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWThe case for changeTwo reviews of the domestic and family violence service system in NSW - oneby the NSW Parliament’s Standing Committee on Social Issues (2) and the otherby the NSW Auditor-General (3) - identified a number of issues preventing arobust response to domestic and family violence, including:●● Agencies trying to work together to prevent and respond to domestic andfamily violence are doing so without a common framework for their activities,and without common goals or objectives.●● Organisations don’t identify or assess risk in any common way – whichmeans that victims of violence can fall through gaps between the agencies.●● There are significant barriers to sharing information between agencies. Sharinginformation is important if we are to help people stay safe from violence.●● There are few programs that seek to change behaviour in perpetrators andfew programs for male victims of domestic violence.This document summarises the strategic direction of a reform program that willstrengthen our responses to domestic and family violence for the purpose ofpublic consultation, facilitated by the NSW Government website, Have Your Saywww.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au. If you would like more detailed informationabout how the proposed reforms might work in practice, please refer to thediscussion papers available under the Consultation Documents tab.
7 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWUnderstanding domestic and familyviolenceDomestic and family violence is a complex issue. It includes behaviours thatcontrol or dominate a person, causing them to fear for their own (or someoneelse’s) safety. It includes physical and sexual assault and abuse and othercontrolling behaviours.In 2008/09, the national cost of domestic and family violence was estimated at$13.6 billion and it is predicted to exceed $15.6 billion by 2021/22 (4). In NSW,the cost is estimated at more than $4.5 billion each year (5).While men can be victims of domestic and family violence, women and childrenare more likely than men to be victims of violence and men are more likely thanwomen to be perpetrators.And while anyone can potentially become a victim of domestic and familyviolence, some people within our community are at greater risk of experiencingviolence. Women and children who experience violence are frequently alreadydealing with challenging circumstances. They may have limited financial or socialsupports, or they may have health factors that complicate the situation, makingit difficult to find services to help them break free from violence.We also know that:●● Aboriginal people experience domestic and family violence at significantlyhigher rates than non-Aboriginal people. Family violence in Aboriginaland Torres Strait Islander communities occurs within a range of familyand kinship relationships, and is not limited to intimate relationships or aperson’s immediate family. (6) It is often complicated by a range of factorsthat contribute to increased rates of violence, including the historical traumaexperienced by Aboriginal people and the resulting distrust of authority.●● Women who have a disability experience domestic and family violence athigher rates, greater severity, and over longer periods than other people. (7)(8) Attitudes towards disability, dependence on the perpetrator for personalcare, power dynamics, access and opportunity to commit abuse, are allrisk factors for people with a disability and impact on the person’s ability toescape the violence. (9)
8 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW●● Women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds,including newly arrived migrants and refugees face barriers in accessingservices. These include social isolation, language and communicationdifficulties, financial dependence, the impact of immigration status on serviceeligibility, fear that they will not be able to remain in Australia if they leave aviolent relationship, and the influence of family and community attitudes.●● People who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex orqueer (LGBTIQ) experience domestic and family violence at similar ratesto that of the wider community but are less likely to identify the experienceas abuse, less likely to report violence to the police or seek support from adomestic and family violence support organisation for fear of prejudice anddiscrimination. (10) Sometimes, response services may not understand theneeds of a LGBTIQ person or the nature of their relationship, or supportworkers may have preconceived ideas about the diversity of sex, sexuality,gender or family.●● Younger women may be less likely to identify an abusive relationship, report itto the police or approach a domestic and family violence service for support.●● Older women are at higher risk due to social isolation and dependence onpartners and children.●● Pregnant women and women with children are known to face greater risk ofescalating violence where violence is present in a relationship.●● People living in remote communities may experience geographic isolationand face a lack of appropriate support options as well as experiencinghigher rates of domestic and family violence.●● Women with mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues are morevulnerable and face additional barriers in seeking support.Domestic and family violence in NSWIn 2012, there were 29,900 domestic violence related assaults recorded byNSW Police. (11) Most of these assaults occurred in the home, on weekendsand at night. But these recorded assaults are only a small part of the pictureas these figures only capture physical assaults. And we also know that lessthan half of all domestic violence incidents are reported to police.When we consider the wide range of behaviours that constitute domestic andfamily violence and the under-reporting of these actions and behaviours, itseems likely that the problem is far greater than many people realise. Thisis backed up by findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics PersonalSafety Survey (2005) (12) which found that one-third of Australian womenhave experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and almost one-fifthhave experienced sexual violence.
9 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWAt a glance: the NSW domestic andfamily violence reformsThe reforms have been developed to align with the four key outcomes stated bythe National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children 2010-2022:1 Communities are safe and promote healthy, respectful relationships freefrom violence.2 Women and children are safe, supported to recover and intergenerationalabuse is averted.3 Activity targets the needs of groups that are at high risk of experiencingdomestic and family violence.4 Perpetrators are held to account and supported to be non-violent.Against these four outcomes, gaps in the way we currently respond to domesticand family violence were identified, which led to the development of the reform’score recommendations.
10 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWWhat we have now What we want How we’ll get thereAn inconsistent approach topreventing domestic andfamily violence in NSWDomesticand familyviolence ispreventedA new focus on effectiveand evidence-basedprevention and a prevention-focused funding programDifferent service standardsin different organisationsDomesticand familyviolence isidentifiedearlyShared minimum practicestandards across all servicesInconsistent approaches toassessing riskAn electronic, common riskidentification toolA complex system that relieson the individual to identifyand negotiate pathways tothe support they needVictims aresafe andsupportedto recoverCentral referral points tomake the path easier forvictims seeking supportfrom the systemInconsistent availability ofservices for victims aroundthe stateTargeted provision ofspecific services tocommunities at high riskof domestic and familyviolenceTargeted expansion of coreprograms to address supplygapsBarriers to the flow ofimportant information aboutrisks to a victim’s safetyNew information sharingarrangements to helpagencies work togetherfor victim safetyAn inconsistent approach toconsidering and addressingsafety issues for peopleexperiencing violenceImplementation of SafetyAction Meetings to monitorand assess victims atserious threat
11 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWWhat we have now What we want How we’ll get thereAn inconsistent approach toresponding to perpetratorsof violencePerpetratorsstop usingviolenceImplementation of theDomestic Violence JusticeStrategy (DVJS)Programs that holdperpetrators to account fortheir actions and supportthem to stop using violenceA sector without a unifiedvision of what it wants toachieveA supported,professionaland effectivesectorA shared vision for allgovernment and non-government agenciesand services working inthe domestic and familyviolence sectorNo common definition ofdomestic and familyviolenceAn agreed policy definitionshared by all agenciesworking in the domesticand family violence sectorComplex, historicalapproaches to servicefunding and delivery notsupported by evidenceA new approach to investingin research and buildingevidence to support ouractivities and investments
12 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWDomestic and family violenceis preventedPreventing domestic and family violence is a challenge for all communities.While we must always have services that can respond once violence hasoccurred, if we can prevent violence from occurring in the first place westand to make our community a healthier and safer place for everyone.But preventing violence is not a simple task. To prevent violence, we must tacklethe beliefs, attitudes and social norms that either explicitly or implicitly allowviolence to continue. These can include beliefs about men and women and theirroles in relationships and society. They are often long and deeply-held beliefs.The NSW Government already funds and supports a range of preventionactivity, mostly through grants to encourage local initiatives. In the non-government sector, organisations carry out a range of activities to strengthenfamilies and communities, support women and children who are at risk ofexperiencing violence and abuse, and work with boys and men to rejectviolence, and promote alternative, respectful attitudes, values and behaviours.But NSW has not had a consistent approach to prevention activity. While someinnovative projects have been developed locally, most programs have not beenevaluated to determine whether they have had a lasting impact on individuals,families or communities.There is a tremendous opportunity to consolidate the shared understanding ofgood practice and improve future initiatives that work to prevent violence fromoccurring in the first place. We will encourage and support communities to talkabout the beliefs, attitudes and values that enable violence to keep occurring.And together we will find new ways to change those attitudes and behavioursthat silently support domestic and family violence.
13 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWAn integrated approach to preventionIt is vital we continue investing in an effective response to domestic and familyviolence through improving service, police and justice systems. We also knowthat focusing on the problem alone won’t reduce the number of new incidences.Ultimately we need to find ways to create relationships, communities andorganisations that are non-violent and respectful of everyone – wherewomen and their children feel safe and can reach their full potential.This new approach recognises that domestic and family violence is a communityproblem that requires a community response. Breaking the cycle of violencerequires action from individuals, neighbourhoods, community networks andorganisations, workplaces, sporting clubs and faith based leaders, and alllevels of government.Progress is already being made. In October 2012, the NSW Governmentannounced the Domestic and Family Violence Funding Program (valued at$9.8m over three years). This funding will allow us to make strategic investmentsthat will address gaps in our prevention and early intervention programs. Thefunding program will invest in building our understanding of the evidence aboutwhat works and what doesn’t, in preventing domestic and family violence.We will continue to develop a range of interventions for implementation andwe will focus prevention research and funding into four key outcomes:1 Relationships are respectfulWe know that respectful relationships education can be an effective wayto change attitudes and to promote behavioural change among children,young people and adults. Our immediate priority will be to support respectfulrelationships education to children and young people in formative periodsof their lives.2 Men and boys are supported to be non-violentEngaging men and boys to prevent domestic and family violence and to reducerecidivism (a habitual relapse into crime) is a key part of our approach. We willinvest in reviewing existing initiatives that engage men and boys in violenceprevention and early intervention, and make investments in effective innovativeapproaches and programs.
14 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW3 High-risk groups and communities are safe and freefrom violenceOur new approach will target and prioritise funding to populations, communitiesand groups we know are at greater risk of experiencing violence or who facedistinct barriers in accessing support and services. This will include victimsfrom Aboriginal communities and with CALD backgrounds, people who identifyas being LGBTIQ and victims living with a disability.4 Children experiencing violence are supported andinter-generational violence is avertedWe know that supporting children affected by domestic and family violencecan help break the cycle of violence by assisting those children to avoid usingor experiencing domestic and family violence as adults. We will progressivelyresearch, scope and develop child-centred early intervention strategies that aimto prevent the recurrence of domestic and family violence in future generations.In undertaking this work our approach will be to seek to establish strongpartnerships and leverage commitment and resources across governments,the private and public sectors and community organisations to bring aboutgenerational change.learning moreWe have developed a detailed strategy to direct our prevention efforts underthe reforms. If you would like more information about the strategy, please referto the discussion paper Preventing domestic and family violence.The paper is available online at www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/it-stops-here
15 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWDomestic and family violence isidentified early - providing better supportfor victims of violenceExperiencing violence within a relationship is a traumatic experience. It can bedifficult to know where to turn for help. Some victims of violence feel shame, asif they deserve what has happened to them. In some cases, particularly wherethere hasn’t been physical violence, an individual may feel they have no right toseek support – that the behaviours are a normal part of a relationship, or thatthey cannot be changed.There are services that can provide support, advice and assistance to victimsof violence. But how does a person find the services they need? Dependingon their individual experiences, they might seek help directly from a specialistdomestic and family violence service; they may talk about what has happenedto someone at a mainstream service (such as a GP or housing provider); theymight be identified through a routine screening program in the public healthsystem; or they may come into contact with the police or criminal justice systemwhen an incident has occurred.Each agency within each of these service spheres has its own structures,relationships, protocols and procedures for responding to violence. Dependingon their point of entry to the system, two individuals both seeking help to leaveviolence behind may have vastly different experiences.It is important that services can operate flexibly – we know that a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate. But we strongly believe that victims of violenceshould be able to expect a certain standard of service whether they are seekinghousing assistance, health care, counselling, legal protection or financialsupport wherever they live in NSW.New minimum practice standardsAll victims of domestic and family violence must receive a minimum level ofresponse that offers them support and assistance in recovering from theviolence. In consultation with our partners, we have prepared minimum practicestandards for mainstream agencies and specialist domestic and family violenceservices (both government and non government). This means that victims offamily and domestic violence will receive a level of response that helps themto recover and move on from the violence they have experienced – regardlessof the point at which they enter the system.
16 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWMinimum practice standards: screening and early identification●● All services involved in screening will use a structured approach to identifydomestic and family violence based on an agreed policy definition ofdomestic and family violence.●● Where domestic and family violence is identified through screening, sectorworkers will provide information to the victim and refer them to a local CentralReferral Point for risk assessment and assistance.These minimum practice standards will apply to all mainstream services.Across the state, we need a consistent and appropriate level of responsefrom mainstream and specialist domestic and family violence services. Theminimum practice standards will provide this to victims regardless of howthey enter the system and where they live.Minimum practice standards: responding to all victims of domesticand family violence●● Police officers who respond to incidents of domestic and family violence willcomplete a common risk identification tool (electronic) by the end of their shift(see Appendix 1).●● The completed form will be sent through to the Central Referral Point by theend of the shift.●● Staff at the Central Referral Point will use the form to identify victims atserious threat of further harm or escalating violence, and will refer thesecases to the Safety Action Meeting.●● Staff at the Central Referral Point will contact the victim by the end of thenext business day to discuss safety as part of ongoing safety and riskmanagement. Safety Planning will be encouraged.●● The safety of children will be considered separately and where feasiblechildren will have their own case plans developed as part of an integratedchild protection response.●● Services will directly involve victims in safety and case planning andidentifying risk and safety concerns.●● Sector workers will know about local and regional services and engageadditional services to support victims.●● Services working with victims will develop and sustain formal relationshipswith key statutory and legal services.
17 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW●● Sector workers will re-evaluate risk to, and safety of, victims throughoutthe duration of the service response.●● All sector workers providing a case coordination or case managementresponse will ensure adequate arrangements are in place for the victim’ssafety and recovery prior to case closure.●● Services will be committed to continuous improvement in the quality ofservice response provided to victims of domestic and family violence.●● These minimum practice standards will apply to specialist domestic andfamily violence services.Minimum practice standards for responding to victims who areat serious threat●● Services will coordinate an immediate response for a victim assessed asbeing at serious threat (using the electronic risk identification tool), and forthe perpetrator.●● Victims at serious threat will be contacted by the Central Referral Pointwithin one business day and will be considered at the next availableSafety Action Meeting.●● Victims at serious threat will be referred to a specialist domestic and familyviolence services for case management support if this is needed.●● Where appropriate, member agencies will participate in Safety ActionMeetings to develop, implement and monitor safety plans for victims atserious threat and for the perpetrators.These minimum practice standards will apply to specialist domestic and familyviolence services and member organisations of Safety Action Meetings.When a person is identified as being at serious threat of further violence, aspecific set of minimum practice standards has been designed to minimisethat threat.
18 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWBetter availability of services where they are neededEvery year, approximately $62m is directed to domestic and family violenceservices in NSW from both federal and state sources. This figure does notinclude the cost associated with services delivered by mainstream governmentagencies that respond to domestic and family violence services including Police,Courts, Community Services and Health.However, the NSW Parliament’s Standing Committee on Social Issues reporton domestic violence trends and issues in NSW identified a number of servicecategories needing an improved level of availability:●● emergency accommodation and housing●● case management for victims of violence●● therapeutic services (including counselling)●● legal services (particularly for groups who face additional challenges inaccessing legal support such as Aboriginal people, people with disabilityand people living in remote locations)●● perpetrator programs.Historically, we have seen services located in areas with high populations (thatis, the more people in an area, the more funding provided for domestic andfamily violence services). But this approach ignores the fact that the highestrates of domestic and family violence and the highest number of risk factors fordomestic and family violence are often seen in areas with smaller populations.We will review our approaches to service planning and our funding models tobase our decisions about funding and locating services on a more comprehensiveand nuanced understanding of the factors that contribute to current and futuredemand for services.
19 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWMaking it easier for victims to find help – Central ReferralPointsVictims of domestic and family violence need a range of supports to helpthem recover from violence. They may need assistance with:●● protection from further violence through the justice system●● physical health issues associated with the violence they have experienced●● the emotional and psychological effects of violence●● practical safety and security concerns (replacing locks, for instance)●● financial, transport and accommodation supportAt a time when they are already vulnerable, under the current system anindividual frequently has to work very hard to find the support they need,and advocate on their own behalf to get it.We want to turn the system around, so that it works better for the victim.Changes to the system will build on what’s already in place to create anintegrated response. We will create Central Referral Points to better meetthe needs of victims.Central referral points will connect victims with the supports they need and will:●● take referrals from agencies who have identified someone as experiencingdomestic and family violence●● contact the victim to offer safety planning support●● assess the risks to that person and, in consultation with them, identify thelocal services and support they need to be safe●● with the victim’s consent, share their relevant information with the serviceproviders so the victim doesn’t have to tell their story again and again●● facilitate the connection between the individual and the services they need●● coordinate Safety Action Meetings for individuals at serious threat offurther harm.
20 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWVictims are safe and supported torecover - A system that focuses on safetyand wellbeingDifferent agencies and organisations have different ways of identifying whethera person is at risk of further harm, and assessing the extent of that risk. We donot currently have a consistent way to identify risk, nor do we have a processthat enables a tiered level of response based on the assessed risk to anindividual.We will implement a new process that is initiated when a victim makes contactwith the system. We are taking a new approach to identifying and assessingrisk based on:1 the presence of known risk factors2 the victim’s perception of their own level of risk3 the judgement, experience and knowledge of the professional conductingthe assessmentA new approach to identifying and assessing riskA common risk identification tool (RIT) has been developed for implementation.It uses evidence-based criteria (safety risk factors) and has been designed to beused with adult victims of domestic and family violence. In later stages of thereform process, we will also adapt the risk assessment processes for use withchildren. We want the assessment of risk to children to form part of an integratedchild protection response that connects with existing child protection processessuch as Structured Decision Making and mandatory reporting practices.The use of the RIT and referrals to the Central Referral Point will be electronicto enable us to exchange information quickly between agencies and serviceproviders.Police attending domestic and family violence incidents will complete the RIT. Itwill also be available to specialist domestic and family violence services and otheragencies who want to make referrals to the Central Referral Point for clients.If the assessor using the RIT determines that the person is “at threat” or “atserious threat”, the form will be sent to the Central Referral Point for review.
21 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWOf course, this process does not stop police or (in the case of another agencyusing the RIT) another service taking the necessary steps to immediately reducethe risk and secure the safety of the victim.By the end of the next business day, the Central Referral Point will contact thevictim to talk about their situation and offer support, and to confirm the risk leveldetermined by the professional who completed the RIT.The NSW Government proposes that completion of the RIT is mandatory forpolice attending domestic and family violence related incidents, and that othermainstream and domestic and family violence services will be encouraged touse the RIT.Planning for long-term safety and support for recoveryThe risks faced by individuals experiencing domestic and family violence varyfrom person to person. Each individual needs services, supports and plans thattake into account their specific circumstances and the level of risk they face.As a natural complement to a common risk identification and assessmentprocess, we will implement safety planning. Safety planning links the riskassessment process with the firm action that is required to help the victimbecome safe.When the Central Referral Point receives a referral, they will contact the victimto talk about their situation and confirm or (if necessary) increase the level ofassessed risk. If the individual is assessed as being “at threat”, they will beoffered the opportunity to work with a service to develop a safety plan.The safety planning process will give power back to the victim to makedecisions and take control of their life. The process will consider the victim’sown perception of their risk, their safety goals, their ability to access services,and the priority they place on different services.Safety and support planning may include:●● Supported referral, which connects victims to the services that they needto maintain their safety and to recover from their experience of violence.●● Case coordination, which provides case monitoring and a brokerage rolefor victims with more complex support needs.●● More intensive ongoing support through case management, which oftenhas a therapeutic focus on recovery, and includes counselling and coachingto assist the victim to regain control of their life, build essential skills andcapabilities, and recover from their experience of violence.
22 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW●● Monitoring and review, because risk is by nature dynamic and changeable.The cyclical nature of domestic and family violence also requires regularre-assessment of risk●● Exit planning, which includes working with the victim to enable them tomanage their situation safely and to move towards independence fromthe support systemSafety Action Meetings for people “at serious threat”If a person is assessed by police or staff at the Central Referral Point as “atserious threat”, they will be referred to a Safety Action Meeting. Safety ActionMeetings bring together local agencies and service providers to discuss therisks facing an individual and to develop a comprehensive Safety Action Planto address those risks.An assessment of “at serious threat” means that more than half of the riskfactors on the RIT are present. An assessment of “at serious threat” can alsobe made based on the professional judgement of the person completing orreviewing the RIT, taking into account the victim’s own perception of the riskthey face, even if 50% of the risk factors are not present.Chaired by a senior representative of the NSW Police Force, a Safety ActionMeeting may include representatives of other government agencies (includingNSW Health, Community Services, Housing, Education, and CorrectiveServices) and non-government service providers in the local area. Broadermembership of the meetings will reflect the needs of the local community.A coordinator will be appointed in each Central Referral Point to administerand support Safety Action Meetings and assist the Chair.Each member organisation of the Safety Action Meeting will be responsiblefor reviewing the records their agency has relating to a victim or perpetrator onthe agenda, and compiling this information for discussion at the meeting. Thismeans that members of the Safety Action Meeting will have strong informationon which they can base their decisions at each meeting.The outcome of the Safety Action Meeting is a Safety Action Plan that includeseach agency’s commitment to carry out, follow up and report on agreed actionswithin an established timeframe. Participants will report back to the coordinatorwhen their actions have been completed.
23 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWBetter information sharing for improved safetyOur approach to safety planning and to reducing risks to people at seriousthreat from domestic and family violence will require a number of supportingreforms. Perhaps the most significant are the reforms we will make to allowbetter sharing of information between agencies and services supportingvictims of domestic and family violence.Under existing legislation, we can only collect, store and share information abouta victim of domestic and family violence if we have their consent (except where itis deemed necessary to prevent or lessen an ‘imminent and serious threat’ to thelife or health of an individual). We respect the right of the individual to determinehow much of their information is shared and between which agencies, but weneed to strike a balance between those rights and the need to take action tokeep them (and others) safe.Best practice is always to obtain the consent of a victim before collecting orsharing information as part of a referral. The primacy of consent is acknowledged.However, in situations involving a serious threat of domestic and family violence itmay not be possible or practical to gain consent. Our proposal seeks to removethe requirement that the threat be ‘imminent’ allowing us to share informationbetween agencies when a victim is assessed as being “at serious threat”according to the RIT. It will also allow us to share information about an allegedperpetrator without his or her consent.Changes to legislation to enable information sharing for referral to services andsafety planning will be accompanied by new information sharing protocols andpractitioner training. These changes represent an essential part of our new riskmanagement approach.Better information sharing means that information about the victim, thealleged perpetrator and their circumstances can travel with the referral,rather than the victim having to re-tell their story every time they come intocontact with a new service or agency. A first round of enhancements toinformation sharing protocols has commenced under the Domestic ViolenceJustice Strategy (DVJS) implementation. For more information about theDVJS, see Appendix 2.
24 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWPerpetrators stop using violenceThe NSW Government has already instigated a program of reforms tostrengthen the justice system’s responses to domestic and family violence.The NSW Domestic Violence Justice Strategy is an operational framework thatoutlines the approaches and standards justice agencies in NSW will adopt toimprove the justice system’s response to domestic violence. Its fundamentalobjectives are to make victims safer, hold perpetrators accountable and preventdomestic violence from reoccurring.The strategy commits all justice agencies and victims support services to worktogether to provide an effective and integrated response. It sets out six justiceoutcomes agencies will aspire to achieve to ensure victims and perpetratorsexperience high standards of service across the NSW justice system.The Strategy also identifies areas where reform is needed to ensure effectiveimplementation. These key areas will be addressed through research, andpolicy and legislative reform throughout its term.In addition to the Domestic Violence Justice Strategy, the Department of AttorneyGeneral and Justice is conducting a statutory review of the Crimes (Domestic andPersonal Violence) Act 2007. Reviews of victim support services and the victim’scompensation scheme have also been undertaken and reform proposals arebeing developed.Practical changes, such as allowing police officers at the rank of sergeant or aboveto issue provisional ADVOs, as well as allowing an officer to detain a defendant forup to two hours for the purpose of making and serving such an order if they refusea direction to cooperate, will also strengthen the justice response.
25 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWChanging perpetrators’ behaviour – the NSW Men’sReferral ServiceOur mapping of domestic and family violence services identified significantgaps in responses to perpetrators outside the criminal justice system. Whileperpetrators who are currently in custody may be admitted to behaviour changeprograms within the criminal justice system, this response only reaches thoseperpetrators who have already been convicted of violent offences. NSWcurrently lacks programs and services external to the criminal justice systemthat can support perpetrators to understand and change their behaviour – animportant part of violence prevention.We will establish a state-wide Men’s Referral Service, providing a referral pointfor men who have perpetrated violence against members of their family (or areat risk of doing so). It will provide a telephone counselling and referral service toassist men who want help to change their behaviours. Referrals to the servicecan be made by police and other agencies and men will also be able to self-refer to the Men’s Referral Service. Linking this service to the Central ReferralPoints will enable concurrent referral of victims and perpetrators to supportservices.The service will also offer support to women and family members, as well asneighbours or colleagues, who are concerned about the violent behaviour ofa male partner or family member.Working with perpetrators - minimum practice standardsNSW has already implemented NSW Minimum Standards for Men’s BehaviourChange Programs www.domesticviolence.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/minimum_standards_mdvbcp.html, but we also propose a new set of minimum practicestandards for agencies working with perpetrators of family and domesticviolence.●● Services working with perpetrators will have knowledge of local and regionalservices and will engage additional services to support perpetrators.●● Services working with perpetrators will develop and sustain formalrelationships with key statutory and legal services.●● Services working with perpetrators will have procedures and protocols inplace for communication with the victim’s services in relation to any mattersaffecting the victim’s safety.
26 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW●● Services will provide training and ongoing support to ensure practitioners havethe appropriate skills and qualifications to respond effectively to perpetrators.●● Providers of men’s behaviour change services will comply with the NSWMinimum Standards for Men’s Behaviour Change Programs.These minimum practice standards will apply to all services working withperpetrators.learning moreIf you would like more information about the minimum practice standards,Central Referral Points, the common Risk Identification Tool, behaviour changeprograms, Safety Action Meetings or information sharing, please refer to thediscussion paper, Securing safety: discussion paper 2.The paper is available online at www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/it-stops-here
27 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWA supported, professional and effective sectorBuilding common ground – shared definitions and objectivesWith multiple agencies across a range of fields providing diverse services forvictims and perpetrators of violence, it can be challenging to implementmeaningful reform. To build a more responsive and effective system thatplaces human rights, safety and wellbeing at the heart of our actions weneed a shared policy framework to guide our programs and activities. Thisshared framework will form a strong foundation for implementing reform.With our non-government partners, advocacy groups and experts we havedeveloped a new vision and a shared policy definition of domestic and familyviolence, the outcomes our reforms will contribute to, and a set of guidingprinciples that will underpin all our actions in this reform program.We have a vision that communities in NSW will be safe, and promote healthy,respectful relationships that are free of domestic and family violence.One of the most significant and important challenges in developing the reformswas agreeing a policy definition of domestic and family violence between allagencies. Depending on their service orientation, different agencies havehistorically adopted different definitions.‘Domestic violence’ was considered by some to be too narrow a term, focusingon those in a marital or de facto relationship and excluding the range of extendedfamily and kinship relationships that may be affected by violence. For others, usingthe term ‘domestic violence’ was not narrow enough, extending the domain tothose who were, for example, flatmates or in a shared living arrangement.On some things, though, there was fundamental agreement: that domestic andfamily violence is a violation of human rights and a crime. Over several months, weworked together to develop a new policy definition for domestic and family violence.The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 contains legislativedefinitions relating to apprehended violence orders, for example “domesticrelationship” and “domestic violence offence”. Agencies (such as Police) willuse the definitions in this Act when dealing with apprehended violence orders.The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 is currently under review.The new policy definition will sit at the core of our prevention programs, ourresponse and recovery services for victims of violence, and our perpetratorprograms.
28 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWDomestic and Family Violence: Policy DefinitionDomestic and family violence is a violation of human rights and a crime. Itincludes any behaviour, in an intimate or family relationship, which is violent,threatening, coercive or controlling, causing a person to live in fear. It is usuallymanifested as part of a pattern of controlling or coercive behaviour.An intimate relationship refers to people who are, or have been, in an intimatepartnership; whether or not the relationship involves or has involved a relationshipof a sexual nature i.e. married or engaged to be married, separated, divorced, defacto partners (whether of the same or a different sex), couples promised to eachother under cultural or religious tradition or dating.A family relationship has a broader definition and includes people who are relatedto one another through blood, marriage or de facto partnerships, adoption andfostering relationships, sibling and extended family relationships. It includes thefull range of kinship ties in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,extended family relationships in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)communities and constructs of family within Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual,Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LBGTIQ) relationships and families.The behaviours that constitute domestic and family violence include:●● physical assault or abuse●● sexual assault, sexually abusive or coercive behaviour●● stalking●● verbal, emotional or psychological abuse●● threats of violence●● intentionally damaging or destroying property●● intentionally causing harm, injury or death to an animal with a view to cause fear●● denying a person reasonable financial autonomy or financial support●● unreasonably preventing the other person from making or keepingconnections with her or his family or kin, friends, faith or culture●● unlawfully depriving a person, or any member of a person’s family, of her orhis liberty●● intentionally shaming a person in their community●● harassment, intimidation or coercion of the other person’s family in order tocause fear●● ongoing harassment, including through the use of electronic communicationor social media.
29 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWOur reforms will be underpinned by these guiding principles:●● Domestic and family violence is a violation of human rights.●● The safety of the victim and any children or young people involvedis paramount.●● Support for victims is strengths-based, empowering and focused onlong-term recovery.●● Victims are able to choose to remain safely at home, free of violence.●● Perpetrators of domestic and family violence are held to account.●● An integrated, multi-agency response is adopted.●● Information sharing is consent-based wherever possible.●● Strong leadership and good governance supports government andnon-government organisations to work together.●● Services, programs and practice models are evidence-based andcontinuously improved through evaluation.Gathering the evidenceThe decisions we make about funding prevention programs and responseservices are important ones. We need to make sure that we are investing inthe activities that will make our communities safer and that will help us deliverbetter outcomes for all those affected by domestic and family violence.We can only be confident about our investment choices if we have solidevidence about the effectiveness of various approaches. At this stage, wedon’t have that evidence base in NSW. There is international and nationalevidence about strategies, activities and programs that are promising andwe also know about some programs with proven effectiveness. But weneed to determine whether those programs will work here.The Domestic and Family Violence Funding Program has an emphasis onbuilding the NSW and national evidence base for effective practice in violenceprevention and services for victims, children and perpetrators. This includesproviding funding to the National Centre of Excellence to Reduce ViolenceAgainst Women. Located in Sydney, the Centre will develop a national researchagenda to improve policy and service delivery in the prevention of violenceagainst women.
30 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWWe will also establish a violence prevention research program through theWomen NSW Domestic and Family Violence Funding program and to furtherdevelop our understanding and capacity in important aspects of violenceprevention. We have already identified four priority areas of study:1 Men and boys violence prevention2 Respectful relationships education3 Targeting high-risk groups and communities4 Child-centred early interventionSupporting workforce developmentThese reforms represent our commitment to improving outcomes for victims ofdomestic and family violence and to building safer communities. The successof the reforms will depend on how well we equip those that work within thesector with the skills and knowledge they need to implement the reforms.We will deliver training and education to support the implementation of key reformprojects – for example, in using the common risk identification tool and in riskassessment and management. Further, we are working towards implementinga state-based professional development program to strengthen the capabilitiesof individuals, agencies and the sector overall to implement prevention andresponse services.
31 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWGovernance and implementationThese reforms represent a significant change to how we currently deliver servicesto victims of domestic and family violence. The ways in which we plan, fundand collaborate for better outcomes for victims of violence will also change.Implementing these changes consistently and sustainably will require changesto regional and local governance arrangements.Ministerial GroupAt the state level, a new Ministerial Group provides high-level leadership andpolitical drive for innovation and increased integration in the NSW response todomestic and family violence. The Group comprises the Ministers for Womenand Family and Community Services, Police and Emergency Services, Health,Aboriginal Affairs and the Attorney General.The NSW Domestic and Family Violence CouncilA new NSW Domestic and Family Violence Council, an expert alliance betweengovernment and non-government service providers that respond to domesticand family violence in NSW, provides advice on current and emerging issues tothe Ministerial Group, as well as influences and directs reforms proposed underthe NSW Domestic and Family Violence Reform program. The Council isresponsible for confirming and prioritising the future reform agenda.Domestic and Family Violence Regional CommitteesNew Domestic and Family Violence Regional Committees supported byRegional Coordinators will provide the basis for collaboration at the regionallevel. The role of these committees is to coordinate the implementation of boththe NSW Domestic and Family Violence reforms and the Domestic ViolenceJustice Strategy at the regional and local level. Once regional implementationplans are developed, the Regional Committees will undertake regular monitoringand reporting on implementation.Local Domestic and Family Violence CommitteesThe existing network of Local Domestic Violence Committees across NSWprovides a strong basis for local coordination and collaboration. Under thereforms, these committees will continue with new governance model.
32 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWMembership of these local committees includes key government agenciesand non-government organisations in the local area.Local Domestic Violence Committees (to be known as Local Domestic andFamily Violence Committees) will need to consider expanded roles andresponsibilities including:●● developing and maintaining local partnerships and networks●● reporting to the Regional Domestic and Family Violence Committees onlocal service responses and priorities●● coordinating local prevention activities and local services responses●● implementing the new approach to prevention.Implementing the reformsReforming the way we prevent and respond to domestic and family violencewill be neither quick nor easy. Implementation will occur in a staged approachallowing time to review, evaluate and refine our approach.Other areas which may be considered during implementation include:●● Development of an Aboriginal specific domestic and family violence strategy●● Development of an integrated response between domestic and familyviolence and child protection – to include the exploration of increasingrates of young people at Children’s Courts being either offenders orvictims of domestic and family violence●● Development of a sexual assault strategy (this would be broader thandomestic and family violence).We are, however, already initiating reforms in some key areas: the DomesticViolence Justice Strategy was launched in December 2012 and implementationof the new state level governance arrangements has commenced. The MinisterialGroup met for the first time in April 2013.
33 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWWe have already identified four funding streams for the Domestic and FamilyViolence Funding Program (the current program runs from the 2012/13 financialyear through to the end of the 2014/15 financial year). Funding will be directed toprojects which focus on:●● improving sector capacity●● building the evidence base●● establishing the Men’s Referral Service (including telephone counselling support)●● prevention partnerships (design and implementation of prevention strategiesand models).Once the state-level architecture is in place, we anticipate that implementationwill be driven at a regional level through the regional governance and supportprocesses. We want to ensure that existing systems, relationships and processesthat are working well within communities are built on, rather than replaced forthe sake of change. We also want to make sure that the measures that areimplemented are tailored to the needs of the local area and community.Once the public consultation period has ended and feedback considered, thereforms will be finalised and developed into an implementation plan.
34 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWHow will we know if we’ve beensuccessful?Our intention is to carefully monitor the progress of reform implementation andto learn lessons as we progress. We will establish a regular monitoring andreporting process for the reform program that will run concurrently with specificevaluation processes for individual elements of the reform. In this way, we willbe able to collect evidence about the effectiveness of both the reforms and theimplementation processes. We will be able to adjust our activities, plans andapproaches to adapt to the findings of our evaluation activities.A comprehensive evaluation framework will be developed when the reformprogram is finalised and the implementation plan developed. However, we havealready determined a set of core principles that will guide the design approachfor our evaluation framework.●● A focus on victims: The safety and recovery of adults and children whoexperience domestic violence is central to the evaluation of the reformprogram.●● An emphasis on outcomes: The reform program is person-centred - itfocuses on the perspectives of adults and children who experience domesticand family violence. The system will be assessed on the outcomes for thosewho have experienced domestic and family violence and those who useviolence.●● Leverage existing data: The evaluation framework will draw on existing dataand will also identify datasets for future development.●● Accountability: Accountability for outcomes will rest at different levels withinthe system. Responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of servicestandards and responsibility for program evaluation will rest with agencies,while the entire reform program will be monitored and evaluated at thestate level.
35 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW●● Measure progress over time: Monitoring and evaluation will take intoaccount the different timeframes needed for implementation and theachievement of outcomes. Organisational and cultural change requiresa long-term approach. It is important to recognise these timeframes inorder to set realistic expectations about the reporting of outcomes.●● Build the evidence base: Monitoring, research and evaluation is intended tobe part of a “business as usual” policy and program development cycle, sothat effectiveness is evaluated, interventions are evidence-based and properlytargeted, and evaluation and monitoring are used to improve programs.When undertaking a comprehensive reform program like this, it can be challengingto identify the timeframes in which we might expect to see change occurring.Particularly in the area of prevention and early intervention, it can be difficult toevaluate the impact of our activities in the short to medium term. It is also verypossible that, if our reforms are successful in building a more person-centredresponsive and effective service system, we will see the number of recordeddomestic and family violence offences increase because members of thecommunity feel more confident in reporting violence.
36 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWHave your sayWe have worked closely with a range of agencies, services and individuals todevelop this reform package. Now, we want to hear feedback from thecommunity. You can provide your views on the proposed reforms through theNSW Government’s public consultation website, Have Your Say.We value your responses to the reforms we have proposed. The “It Stops Here”public consultation period will run for four weeks. When submissions andresponses close, we will review the feedback carefully and adjust the reformpackage if feedback indicates it’s necessary. We anticipate releasing the finalreform package and implementation plan in the second half of 2013.To provide feedback on the reforms contained in this document, please visitwww.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/it-stops-here
37 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWReferences1 Vic Health. The Health Costs of Violence. 2004. Accessed 21 March 2012 atwww.vichealth.vic.gov.au/Publications/Freedom-from-violence-/The-Health-Ciosts-of-Violence.aspx2 2012 NSW Parliament Standing Committee on Social Issues Domesticviolence trends and issues in NSW NSW Parliament4 NSW Auditor General’s Report. Responding to Domestic and Family Violence.2011. Accessed March 2012 at www.audit.nsw.gov.au/Publications/Performance-Audit-Reports/2011-Reports/Responding-to-domestic-and-family-violence5 Department of Families, housing, Community Services and IndigenousAffairs. Time for Action: The National Council’s Plan for Australia to ReduceViolence Against Women and their Children 2009-2021 March 2009Accessed March 20126 The Australian component of the International Violence Against WomenSurvey indicates that he family violence victimisation rate may be 40 timesthe rate for non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women accounted for15% of homicide victims in 2002-2003.7 S Murray A Powell, ‘Sexual Assault and adults with a disability: enablingrecognition, disclosure and a just response’ ACSSA Issues 9, AustralianInstitute of Family Studies, Canberra 2008; that 25% of Victorian womenwho reported sexual assault to the police had a disability. 15% had anintellectual disability, and 5.9% had a physical disability.8 Brownridge, D. ‘Partner violence against women with a disability’ ViolenceAgainst Women vol. 12, no 9 2006,pp 895-822.9 French,P., Dardel,J., Price-Kelly, S. (2010) Rights denied: towards a nationalpolicy about abuse, neglect and exploitation of persons of with CognitiveImpairment, People with Disability Australia, accessed November 2012 atwww.pwd.org.au/documents/pubs/RightsDenied 2010.pdf10 Chan, C. Domestic Violence in Gay and Lesbian Relationships: An Overview.Australian Domestic Family Violence Clearinghouse. 2005 Accessed 20March at www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/Gay Lesbian.pdf.
38 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW11 BOCSAR 2012 NSW Recorded Crime Statistics 2012 Bureau of CrimeStatistics and Research (BOCSAR) Note that this figure relates to Policerecorded domestic assaults, and does not include other types of domesticoffences that Police may be called out to attend, such as harassment,threatening behaviour, private nuisance, sexual assault, malicious damageto property, indecent assault, acts of indecency or other sexual offences.Domestic assaults are the most common form o f domestic violence offences.12 2005 The Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey AustralianBureau of Statistics
39 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWAppendicesAppendix 1 - Common Risk Identification Tool (RIT)Risk Identification ToolPart A - Identification of Risk Factors.Completed either with the victim at thescene, or used as an aide memoir forgathering information to support latercompletion.Y N URefusedto answerSource ofinfo if notvictim egpolicePrevious violence towards the victimHas the offender ever threatened to harmor kill you?Has the offender ever used physical violenceagainst you?Has the offender ever done things to you, ofa sexual nature, that made you feel bad orphysically hurt you?Has the offender ever been arrested forsexual assault?Has the offender ever choked, strangled orsuffocated you, or attempted to do any ofthese things?Has the offender ever threatened orassaulted you with any weapon (includingknives and/or objects)?Has the offender ever harmed or killed afamily pet or threatened to do so?Has the offender ever breached, or beencharged within breaching, an apprehendeddomestic violence order?
40 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWPart A - Identification of Risk Factors.Completed either with the victim at thescene, or used as an aide memoir forgathering information to support latercompletion.Y N URefusedto answerSource ofinfo if notvictim egpoliceRelationshipIs the offender jealous or bitter towards orcontrolling of you?Has the violence or controlling behaviourbecome worse or more frequent?Has the offender stalked or constantlyharassed or texted/e-mailed you?Does the offender control your access tomoney?Has there been a recent separation (in last12 months) or is one imminent?ChildrenAre you pregnant and/or do you have achild under the age of 12 months?Has the offender ever threatened or usedphysical violence towards you while youwere pregnant?Has the offender ever harmed or threatenedto harm your children?Is there any conflict between you andthe offender regarding child contact orresidency issues and/or current FamilyCourt proceedings?Are there children from a previousrelationship present in the household?
41 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWPart A - Identification of Risk Factors.Completed either with the victim at thescene, or used as an aide memoir forgathering information to support latercompletion.Y N URefusedto answerSource ofinfo if notvictim egpoliceBackground of offenderDoes the offender or the relationship havefinancial difficulties?Is the offender unemployed?Does the offender have mental health problems(including undiagnosed conditions) and/ordepression?Does the offender have a problem withsubstance abuse such as alcohol or otherdrugs?Has the offender ever threatened orattempted suicide?Is/has the offender currently on bail, parole,served a time of imprisonment or hasrecently been released from custody inrelation to offences of violence?Does the offender have access to firearms orprohibited weapons?Total number of ‘yes’ responses(13 or more yes responses = thevictim is at serious threat, and is tobe automatically referred to the SAMPrevious Attendances by Police: Has victim been recorded on COPS as avictim in any 3 or more occasions within a 6 month period in any DV relatedmatter? (Yes = automatic referral to SAM) Yes No
42 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWPart B – Other Risk IdentificationHow fearful is the victim of the offender? (Select one)Not afraidAfraidTerrifiedUnable /Unwilling to answer.Professional JudgementIs there any other information, which, in your professional judgement, mayincrease the level of risk? Consider issues such as the victim’s situation inrelation to disability, substance misuse, mental health issues, cultural/languagebarriers; whether they are willing to engage with a support service; whetherthe perpetrator’s occupation or interests given them unique access to weapons,or if there is an involvement with Community Services (FACS)?Yes NoDescribe:
43 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWWhat are the victim’s main priorities to address their safety?
44 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWDo you believe there are grounds for referring thismatter to a Safety Action Meeting if the checklistthreshold has not been met? Yes NoDo you believe there are any risks facing thechildren in the household that are at Risk ofSignificant harm and require referral underMandatory Reporting Guidelines? Yes NoIf yes, please describe action taken and confirmyou have made a referral to safeguard the childrenunder Mandatory Reporting Obligations:If Yes, explain thesegrounds:Have you made areferral? Yes/NoDate of referral:_____________Signed:_____________Referral MadeDate of referral:_________________Signed__________________Signed _________________________________Name of person completing assessment:______________________________________Name of victim: ___________________________Address of victim: _________________________Date
45 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWAppendix 2 - Links with other reformsThe successful introduction of reforms to support a consistent responseto identifying and managing safety risks for victims of domestic and familyviolence depends on a range of factors including:●● the ability of government and non-government agencies to workcollaboratively and to share information that is relevant to safety actionplanning for victims at serious threat;●● the effectiveness and efficiency of the justice response to provide appropriateand timely legal intervention to protect victims and hold perpetrators toaccount; and●● capacity in the service system to provide access to services andinterventions that meet the identified needs of victims and perpetrators.There are key supporting reform measures underway or under considerationwhich will assist in addressing these issues.The Domestic Violence Justice Strategy 2013-17 (DVJS)The DVJS strengthens the criminal justice system’s response to domestic andfamily violence. These reforms are linked to broader, whole-of-Government actionto domestic and family violence. The DVJS was launched in December 2012 andseeks to achieve safety outcomes for victims, ensure the accountability ofperpetrators, and reduce re-offending.It sets out an integrated approach for justice agencies (including the NSW PoliceForce, the Department of Attorney General and Justice, Corrective Services,and the Judicial Commission of NSW, and Legal Aid NSW) and sets outcomes,expectations and standards of service to be provided to victims andperpetrators in NSW. It seeks to achieve six outcomes:1 Victims’ safety is secured immediately and the risk of further violenceis reduced.2 Victims have confidence in the justice system and are empoweredto participate.3 Victims have the support they need.4 The court process for domestic violence matters is efficient, fairand accessible.
46 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW5 Abusive behaviour is stopped and perpetrators are held to account.6 Perpetrators change their behaviour and re-offending is reduced oreliminated.A link to the full DVJS can be found at www.domesticviolence.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/domesticviolence/dvjustice_strategy.htmlGoing Home Staying Home (GHSH)Domestic and family violence is a major cause of homelessness. Many victimsescaping domestic and family violence seek the assistance of homelessnessservices to resolve their immediate safety and housing crisis and to besupported to find and maintain stable housing.The NSW Government has commenced a process of reforming its fundedhomelessness services. The Going Home Staying Home Reform Programbuilds on good practice and innovation in the specialist homelessnessservice sector and the NSW Homelessness Action Plan.The reform program aims to:●● support a person’s choice to stay or leave home in escaping violence●● re-orient delivery arrangements to support a greater focus on a clientcentred approach●● streamline access and improve intake, assessment and referralarrangements so clients get the right services at the right time●● improve service planning and resource allocation arrangements●● promote and support quality improvement in service provision usingcontemporary evidence-based approaches to address homelessness●● improve the structure, quality and contracting of services and ensure thatthe sector has access to a skilled and stable workforce to deliver the typesof services required under the reform.Some of the key reform directions which aim to improve the response to victimsof domestic and family violence include simpler access to support; makingfunding arrangements more flexible so that contracts align with the new servicedelivery framework; accommodation and support can be provided separatelyor together as needed; increase the focus on prevention and early intervention;service responses to be better tailored to individual needs; and building thecapacity of the homelessness sector to provide effective interventions.A link to the latest GHSH update can be found at www.housing.nsw.gov.au
47 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWInterface and relationship with Federal LawIn November 2011, the Australian Law Reform Commission and the NSWLaw Reform Commission released a report called Family Violence andCommonwealth Laws – Improving Legal Frameworks. The report consideredthe impact of Commonwealth Laws (other than the Family Law Act 1975) onpeople experiencing domestic and family violence (for example, laws relatingto child support, immigration, employment, social security, superannuationand privacy). The report recognises that people experiencing domestic andfamily violence may be affected by a range of other issues such as immigrationstatus, child support and financial dependence. The report considers andmakes recommendations about possible improvements to legal frameworksto protect the safety of those experiencing domestic and family violence. Thekey recommendations and implications for NSW arrangements will beconsidered in developing the reform options for NSW.
48 ● It Stops Here | Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSWAppendix 3 - Alignment with national and state plansThe National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children 2010-2022was adopted by the Council of Australian Governments as a framework forgovernments to reduce violence against women. The proposed NSW reformsalign with the intended outcomes of the National Plan.The NSW 2021 State Plan is a 10 year plan which outlines the State’s priorities.The proposed reforms align with the NSW 2021 State Plan goals:●● Goal 11 Keep people healthy and out of hospital●● Goal 13 Better protect the most vulnerable members of our communityand break the cycle of disadvantage●● Goal 16 Prevent and reduce the level of crime●● Goal 17 Prevent and reduce the level of re-offending●● Goal 18 Improve community confidence in the justice systemNSW Reforms align to National Plan: